Sewing terror: price dynamics of the strawberry needle crisis

K. Aleks Schaefer, Daniel Scheitrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In September 2018, a former strawberry-picking supervisor for a strawberry farm in New South Wales was arrested for inserting sewing needles in hundreds of punnets of fresh strawberries sold in retail stores across several Australian states. This paper analyses the 2018 Australian strawberry needle scare as a case study on the market impacts of agro-terrorism events. We develop a novel four-step procedure to estimate the effects of the strawberry needle contamination on wholesale fresh strawberry prices. Our results indicate a drop in wholesale fresh strawberries prices of about 20% while the needle crisis was ongoing. However, public and private supply restrictions caused wholesale prices to rise by up to 94% relative to expected dynamics over several weeks in the immediate wake of the incident.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-243
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • 2018 strawberry needle scare
  • agro-terrorism
  • price analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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